After two years of talks on Marco Island the council will press the county to call their own shots Tuesday.
Councilman Larry Honig says the city has wanted this for years, “We’re in charge of our own fire, police, building, road department, parks and rec. Why can’t we have our own emergency medical services?”
But after Collier County Emergency Medical Services evacuated Marco Island before Hurricane Irma, it set off some sirens.
“During the hurricane there were incidents we would have handled differently than the county handled them, and we think we should be in charge.” said Honig.
Currently Collier County EMS has one ambulance on the island off season and two in season.
If the city of Marco Island did have its own ambulance service they would be able to keep them at the fire department, so it wouldn’t require any more overhead but would create more jobs.
A consultant for the city is recommending Marco hires 12 additional persons on staff locally.
Yvette Bennaroach is with a local charity group called the marco island patriots, “It was like watching a movie, that’s exactly what it was,” She stayed home during the hurricane and checked on her neighbors afterward.
She says knowing that there wasn’t an ambulance on the island when it was still safe for emergency personnel to drive is terrifying, ‘If there would have been an emergency something bad could have happened.”
And that’s what city council says they want to avoid – making an emergency worse. They’re hoping their request doesn’t flatline.
Tuesday, the city council will make its proposal in city hall at 5:30 p.m. If the county doesn’t approve the request, they say they’ll leapfrog to the state for approval.